Friday, February 23, 2018

Audiobook Review - One Foot in the Grave by Jeaniene Frost @Jeaniene_Frost

One Foot in the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
Narrated by Tavia Gilbert
Series: Night Huntress #2
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication Date: October 20, 2010
Date Read: January 29, 2018
Length: 9 hours 47 minutes
Source: Purchased
You can run from the grave, but you can’t hide…

Half-vampire Cat Crawfield is now Special Agent Cat Crawfield, working for the government to rid the world of the rogue undead. She’s still using everything Bones, her sexy and dangerous ex, taught her, but when Cat is targeted for assassination, the only man who can help her is the vampire she left behind.

Being around Bones awakens all her emotions, from the adrenaline rush of slaying vamps side by side to the reckless passion that consumed them. But a price on her head—wanted: dead or half-alive—means her survival depends on teaming up with Bones. And no matter how hard Cat tries to keep things professional between them, she’ll find that desire lasts forever…and Bones won’t let her get away again.
My Review

I am having a lot of fun with my audio re-read of this series.  It has been a little more than five years since I read this book the first time so it was definitely time to revisit this wonderful story.  This was a book that once I really got into the story, I didn't want to put it down.  I ended up listening to the whole audiobook in just a couple of days and I think I liked the book even more the second time around.

I do have to admit that I had a bit of a rough start with this book.  This book begins several years after the events of the previous book where Cat left Bones to protect him.  She is working her government job that she took to protect her mother at the end of the first book.  She is very good at her job and has a good team working around her. 

I learned something very important while listening to this book.  I like Bones a whole lot more than I like Cat.  So much more.  Bones wasn't around for the first part of this book so it was all Cat.  I missed Bones.  A lot.  As soon as Bones entered the story again, my enjoyment increased dramatically.  If you had asked me a year ago, I would have told you that I loved Cat and Bones.  I discovered that I do love Bones but Cat has the potential to drive me a little crazy at times.  Maybe by the end of my re-read of the series, I will love her just as much as Bones.

There are quite a few really important developments in this book.  Bones and Cat are reunited which is a very good thing.  Cat is in some danger which is not so good but Bones is able to help keep her safe since he is back in her life.  We do also get to meet some other important characters including Cat's team and some of Bone's friends and acquaintances.  There are some pretty intense action scenes and some scenes that are more than a little hot. 

Tavia Gilbert does such a great job with this series.  She really brings both Cat and Bones to life.  I love the voice that she used for Bones and think that the accent is perfect.  All of the characters are very easy to distinguish with each voice used being unique and very believable.  She handled a wide range of emotions and a lot of different types of scenes with ease in this book.  I had no trouble listening to this book for hours at a time.

I do highly recommend this series to others.  This is the second book in the Night Huntress series which really should be read in order since each book builds on previous events.  I can't wait to continue my re-read of this amazing series!

The Night Huntress Series

Book #1 - Halfway to the Grave - My Review
Book #2 - One Foot in the Grave
Book #3 - At Grave's End
Book #4 - Destined for an Early Grave
Book #5 - This Side of the Grave
Book #6 - One Grave at a Time
Book #7 - Up From the Grave - My Review
About the Author

Jeaniene Frost is a New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author whose works include the Night Huntress series, the Night Prince series, and the Broken Destiny series.  To date, foreign rights for her novels have sold to twenty different countries. Jeaniene lives in North Carolina with her husband Matthew, who long ago accepted that she rarely cooks and always sleeps in on the weekends. Aside from writing, Jeaniene enjoys reading, poetry, watching movies, exploring old cemeteries, spelunking and traveling – by car. Airplanes, children, and cook books frighten her. Jeaniene is represented by Nancy Yost at Nancy Yost Literary Agency.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Review - The Duke of Her Desire by Sophie Barnes @BarnesSophie @AvonBooks

The Duke of Her Desire by Sophie Barnes
Series: Diamonds in the Rough #2
Publisher: Avon Books
Publication Date: December 26, 2017
Date Read: February 17, 2018
Length:  384 pages
Source: Edelweiss
He was only supposed to keep an eye on his friend’s sister . . . now he’s about to lose his heart . . .

When Thomas Heathmore, Duke of Coventry, agrees to steer his friend’s inexperienced younger sister through society, he doesn’t expect the lady in question to be so infernally stubborn. Amelia Matthews seems to have little interest in balls or suitors at all. Instead, she intends to open a school, and against his better instincts, Thomas offers to help. Yet somewhere along the line, Amelia ceases to be a simple responsibility . . . and becomes an undeniable temptation.

Since her brother inherited a dukedom, Amelia’s prospects have transformed. But though she’s long been secretly infatuated with Thomas, she refuses to heed the arrogant aristocrat’s advice. If only it were as easy to ignore his heated touch. And as Amelia soon learns, the ton is a minefield, where one moment’s indiscretion can unleash a scandal—or entice her to surrender everything to the duke of her desire...
My Review

I liked this book.  I really enjoyed the first book in this series, A Most Unlikely Duke, so I was really excited to read more of the series.  I didn't love it and I don't think I will remember much about it long term but it was a nice enough story.   I thought that this was a pleasant read and am glad that I read it.

Thomas, the Duke of Coventry, agrees to watch over his friend's sisters while he is away.  Amelia and Juliette are still trying to fit into society after living in poverty most of their lives.  Amelia has other dreams and hopes to open a school for children where she used to live.  Of course, she starts this process while her brother is away and Coventry jumps into to help.  She is still keeping social commitments and considering potential husbands at the same time.

This was a really tame historical romance.  I actually don't remember ever reading one quite this innocent.  I don't need a lot of heat in this kind of story to find it enjoyable but I found it rather surprising.  I really didn't feel a whole lot of chemistry between this pair and I do wonder if part of that could be because most of the book was rather chaste until the story got closer to the end.  I don't think that you need sex in a story to have chemistry but it just seems that something was missing between this pair.

I did find both Amelia and Thomas to be interesting characters.  Thomas has quite the story which I was very eager to learn more about as the story progressed.  Amelia's quest to run a school was ambitious and really showed what kind of person she was.  I was probably most entertained by everything that went wrong with the preparations for the school.  I liked that they both seemed really committed to the cause.

This was a book that I liked in the end.  It was a nice enough read and a nice way to spend a bit of time.  It wasn't my favorite in the series but it was an acceptable installment.  I am actually not sure if I will be picking up the next book in the series or not at this point but I would like to read more from Sophie Barnes in the future.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Avon Books via Edelweiss.
About the Author

Born in Denmark, Sophie Barnes spent her youth traveling with her parents to wonderful places all around the world. She's lived in five different countries, on three different continents, and speaks Danish, English, French, Spanish, and Romanian. But, most impressive of all, she's been married to the same man three times—in three different countries and in three different dresses.

When she's not busy dreaming up her next romance novel, Sophie enjoys spending time with her family, swimming, cooking, gardening, watching romantic comedies and, of course, reading.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Audiobook Review - Bountiful by Sarina Bowen @SarinaBowen

Bountiful by Sarina Bowen
Narrated by Teddy Hamilton & Seraphine Valentine
Series: True North #4; Brookly Bruisers #3.5
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication Date: November 28, 2017
Date Read: February 16, 2018
Length: 10 hours 51 minutes
Source: Audiobook Jukebox
No last names. No life stories. Those were the rules.

Once upon a time a cocky, copper-haired tourist sauntered into Zara’s bar. And even though she knew better, Zara indulged in a cure for the small-town blues. It was supposed to be an uncomplicated fling—a few sizzling weeks before he went back to his life, and she moved on.

Until an accidental pregnancy changed her life.

Two years later, she’s made peace with the notion that Dave No-Last-Name will never be found. Until one summer day when he walks into her coffee shop, leveling her with the same hot smile that always renders her defenseless.

Dave Beringer has never forgotten the intense month he spent with prickly Zara. Their nights together were the first true intimacy he’d ever experienced. But the discovery of his child is the shock of a lifetime, and his ugly past puts relationships and family out of reach.

Or does it? Vermont’s countryside has a way of nurturing even tortured souls. The fields and the orchards—and hard won love—are Bountiful.
My Review

I absolutely loved this book!  I had heard good things about Sarina Bowen but hadn't had the chance to read any of her work before this book.  I can now see that I have been missing out and have a lot of catching up to do.  This was a book that held my attention and never let go.  I could not stop listening and finished the book in just a day and a half.  I was totally swept away by this amazing romance.

It is really hard to put into words my love for this book but I am going to do my best.  I fell in love with these characters from the very start.  As the book progressed, I loved them more and more.  Dave and Zara just seemed to work well together.  I loved the chemistry between them at the start of the story and thought that the awkwardness when they met again felt real.  They just seem to be good for each other. 

This story starts out with Dave on vacation in Vermont where he meets Zara at the bar she runs.  They have a fling over the course of a month but don't share details about themselves.  Two years later when Dave returns for another vacation, he learns that he has a daughter.  I am not always a fan of the secret baby trope but this works perfectly because Zara tried to find Dave but couldn't.  She never makes any attempt to hide the baby from Dave.  Dave is floored by the news but quickly adapts and learns that the things he wants in life may be different than he had originally thought.

It was so wonderful to watch Dave and Zara fall in love.  The chemistry between them was always off the charts but watching them really get to know each other and care for their daughter together was great.  Zara is not used to having Dave's help and doesn't want to owe anyone anything while Dave wants to take care of things.  Some of Zara's family are not thrilled with Dave since he hasn't been around but he never backs down and keeps his focus on Zara and their daughter, Nicole. 

This was the first time that I have listened to Teddy Hamilton and Seraphine Valentine's narration.  I love romances that use two narrators and I thought that both of these narrators did a great job with their characters.  There are a lot of emotions in this book and a few steamy moments and everything flowed flawlessly.  I thought that they both did a great job with the different character voices.  They both had very pleasant voices that made it easy to listen for hours at a time.

I highly recommend this book to fans of contemporary romances.  This incredibly romantic story had all the things I was looking for when I decided to read it.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that Dave was a hockey player which only made things better since I love a good sport romance.  This is the fourth book in the True North series and also fits into the Brooklyn Bruisers series but I had no problems reading it as a stand alone.  Of course, I do want to read all of the other books now!

I received a review copy of this audiobook from Blackstone Audio, Inc. via Audiobook Jukebox.
About the Author

Sarina Bowen is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance. She lives in Vermont's Green Mountains with her family, six chickens and too much ski gear and hockey equipment.

In 2016, Sarina became a Rita Award winner! The Romance Writers of America honored HIM by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy with Best Contemporary Romance, Mid-Length.

Author Link:  Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

New Releases - February 20, 2018 #newreleases #newbooks

It's Tuesday!  That means it is time to make a little bit of room on the bookshelves, load up your ereader, or make your way to your local library.  In other words - It is time to get your hands on a new book!

Here are just a few books that have just been released that you may want to grab soon:

Sirens by Joseph Knox

Find it at:
Goodreads | Booklikes | LibraryThing
The breathtakingly propulsive and stunningly assured debut thriller, perfect for readers of Tana French, Don Winslow and Dennis Lehane

The mission is suicide.

Infiltrating the inner circle of enigmatic criminal Zain Carver is dangerous enough. Pulling it off while also rescuing Isabelle Rossiter, a runaway politician's daughter, from Zain's influence? Impossible. That's why Aidan Waits is the perfect man for the job. Disgraced, emotionally damaged, and despised by his superiors. In other words, completely expendable.

But Aidan is a born survivor. And as he works his way deep into Zain's shadowy world, he finds that nothing is as it seems. Zain is a mesmerizing, Gatsby-esque figure who lures young women into his orbit--women who have a bad habit of turning up dead. But is Zain really responsible? And will Isabelle be next?

Before long, Aidan finds himself in over his head, cut loose by his superiors, and dangerously attracted to the wrong woman.

How can he save the girl if he can't even save himself?

Rosie Colored Glasses by Brianna Wolfson

Find it at:
Sometimes even all the love in the world is not enough to save someone.

Willow Thorpe knows friction… The friction between her parents, Rosie and Rex. The friction inside herself as she tries to navigate two worlds since their divorce.

But life has not always been like this.

When Rosie and Rex first met, theirs was an attraction of opposites. Rosie lived life for those heightened moments when love reveals its true secrets. Rex lived life safely, by the rules. Common sense would say theirs was a union not meant to last, but it was genuine love.

Now Willow just wants to be with Rosie, to bask in her mother’s outsize glow and, she thinks, protection. Because Rosie is the only person who can make Willow feel totally alive and completely loved.

But as Willow and Rosie and Rex try harder and harder to stay connected as a family, Rosie’s manic tornado of love continues to sweep up everyone in sight, ultimately to heartbreaking results.

Smooth-Talking Cowby by Maisey Yates

Find it at:
Goodreads | Booklikes | LibraryThing
Welcome to Gold Valley, Oregon, where a rough-and-tumble rancher and the girl next door are about to learn that opposites attract

Olivia Logan has a plan: win back her ex by making him see what he’s missing. But first she needs to find a man who’s willing to play along. With his laid-back cowboy charm and knack for getting under her skin, Luke Hollister is an unlikely hero—but he wants her help convincing her father to sell him land, which means he needs her as much as she needs him.

Luke likes his life—and his women—uncomplicated. So why does good girl Olivia heat his blood like no one else? She’s always been off-limits, but the more time they spend as Gold Valley’s hottest new “couple,” the more real it’s starting to feel. Luke was supposed to help her win back another man…not keep her in his arms. But now that he has her there, he’s not sure he’ll ever let go.

Sunburn by Laura Lippman

Find it at:
Goodreads | Booklikes | LibraryThing
One is playing a long game. But which one?

They meet at a local tavern in the small town of Belleville, Delaware. Polly is set on heading west. Adam says he’s also passing through.

Yet she stays and he stays—drawn to this mysterious redhead whose quiet stillness both unnerves and excites him. Over the course of a punishing summer, Polly and Adam abandon themselves to a steamy, inexorable affair. Still, each holds something back from the other—dangerous, even lethal, secrets that begin to accumulate as autumn approaches, feeding the growing doubts they conceal.

Then someone dies. Was it an accident, or part of a plan? By now, Adam and Polly are so ensnared in each other’s lives and lies that neither one knows how to get away—or even if they want to. Is their love strong enough to withstand the truth, or will it ultimately destroy them?

Something—or someone—has to give.

Which one will it be?
More Great Books Being Released Today
(Covers link to Goodreads)

Which new releases are you excited about this week?

Monday, February 19, 2018

Review - Runaway Groom by Lauren Layne @_laurenlayne @readloveswept

Runaway Groom by Lauren Layne
Series: I Do, I Don't #2
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group - Loveswept
Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Date Read: February 15, 2018
Length: 240 pages
Source: NetGalley
For one charming playboy, getting cast on a Bachelor-esque reality TV show is the shock of a lifetime—until he finds love where he least expects it. And now the chase is on!

Gage Barrett’s reputation as a ladies’ man has been greatly exaggerated, but none of that matters after a drunken bet lands him on Jilted, a reality TV show that matches runaway grooms with wannabe brides. Now he’s stuck at a Hawaiian resort with nineteen women competing to drag him back to the altar—and one contestant who’s even more miserable than he is. Gage has no idea how feisty, independent Ellie Wright wound up in the cast, but it’s obvious she hates his guts. And if there’s one thing Gage likes, it’s a challenge. . . .

Ellie can’t believe she let her best friend talk her into exchanging her dignity for a glorified bikini contest. Still, she could use the exposure—her business is struggling—and she’ll probably be one of the first to get eliminated anyway. But Gage isn’t the shallow jerk Ellie anticipated—and he’s in no rush to send her home. As stolen kisses turn into secret trysts, she finds herself losing track of what’s real and what’s for the camera. With the wedding finale looming, this runaway groom is tempting Ellie to start believing in storybook endings.

My Review

I loved this book!  I am really kind of surprised about that to be honest.  I don't like television shows like The Bachelor at all.  I think they are kind of dumb and cannot understand why anyone would subject themselves to participating in something like that.  So why would I want to read a book based on the same kind of thing?  It is simple - Lauren Layne wrote it so I want to read it.  I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive about it though.  It actually turns out that this book is one of my favorites Lauren Layne books.

Gage and Ellie both end up on the reality show, Jilted.  Gage is a famous actor that ends up on the show after losing a bet.  He has left two women at the alter so he is the perfect man to fill the role for the show even if he is less than excited about it.  Ellie wanted on the show so that she could promote her company.  She hatched a plan with her friend and business partner that it would be good for business if she could wear the designer t-shirts that they sell.  It turns out that Gage and Ellie seem to be the only two people that don't want to be on the show even though they are doing a pretty good job of faking it. 

I loved Gage and Ellie together.  They have such wonderful chemistry with each other and I really felt their connection.  I loved how they interacted with each other and I think that the parts of the book that they were alone with each other were the only times either of them really showed their true selves.  I really enjoyed getting the chance to be in each of their heads so that I could really see what they were feeling. 

I had really wondered how a romance could be set on a reality show like this.  It is not romantic to see the romantic interest spending time with other women.  I liked that the relationship between Gage and Ellie happened when the cameras were off.  Yes, there were a few situations that made things uncomfortable but I felt like both characters handled themselves well and it really helped them to realize what they were feeling for each other.

I would highly recommend this book to fans of contemporary romance.  I read this book with a big grin on my face the entire time and there were a few scenes that really had my heart beating like crazy.  I had a fantastic time watching Ellie and Gage find their happily ever after and look forward to more from Lauren Layne soon.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Random House Publishing Group - Loveswept via NetGalley.
About the Author

Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen romantic comedies.

A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career.

She lives in midtown Manhattan with her high-school sweetheart, where she writes smart romantic comedies with just enough sexy-times to make your mother blush. In LL's ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Stacking the Shelves #107

I am really excited to participate in Stacking the Shelves, a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Reading Reality.

My Life
This was another quiet week for me.  I love quiet weeks!  We took one of our dogs, Molly, to the vet on Monday for her annual shots.  She didn't appreciate the experience at all and was quite the drama queen about it.  I had a great week of reading and read some really amazing books.  All in all it was a great week!

Books for Review

The Good Luck Sister by Jill Shalvis (Edelweiss)
Rainy Day Friends by Jill Shalvis (Edelweiss)

I was approved for both of these books Friday evening.  Jill Shalvis is a favorite so I am really excited to read more from the Wildstone series.

Bountiful by Sarina Bowen (Audiobook Jukebox)
Weave a Circle Round by Kari Maaren (Audiobook Jukebox)

I was really excited to get the chance to review both of these audiobooks.  The approvals came in at the perfect time since I was in the process of choosing what I would listen to next.  I stated listening to Bountiful right away and am close to finishing it right now.  Bountiful has been an amazing listen so far.

What books do you add to your shelves this week? 
Let me know in the comments and be sure to leave a link to your own STS post!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Audiobook Review - Reed by Sawyer Bennett @BennettBooks

Reed by Sawyer Bennett
Narrated by Graham Halstead and Cris Dukehart
Series: Cold Fury Hockey #10
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
Date Read: February 7, 2018
Length: 5 hours 41 minutes
Source: Library via Hoopla

No one plays like Reed Olson, whether it's hockey season or not. After back-to-back NHL championships, he's craving a little R&R. Reed leans to a specific type - blond, busty, and interested - and fortunately he has a little black book full of options. So why is it he can't stop dreaming about the new girl who just moved in next door? A certified brainiac, she seems to want nothing to do with the hard-bodied athlete.

Josie Ives desperately needs something her celebrity neighbor obviously doesn't: solitude. Reed is everything she imagined - a little too good-looking, with a body that puts Greek gods to shame. But she didn't expect he would also be funny and charming. Josie knows she's the opposite of his type, and that's fine with her.

Still, the chemistry between them is undeniable. Their newfound friendship certainly has its benefits, but she's starting to wonder if opposites really do attract.
My Review

I really enjoyed this book!  It probably comes as no surprise to anyone that follows my reviews that I love this series.  I jumped into the series with the second book and have looked forward to each new book.  I have yet to be disappointed.  I decided to listen to the audio this time around since I wasn't sure when I would have the chance to sit down and actually read the book.  This audiobook ended up being such a wonderful experience for me.

This book is all about Josie and Reed.  Their meeting at the start of the book was not at all what I would have expected and I really wasn't sure how it would play out.  Let me tell you that this book takes Josie and Reed from annoyed neighbors to friends to much more than friends with ease.  I loved their journey and thought that they really seemed to work well with each other.  They are playful with each other and really just enjoy each other's company.  I thought that the chemistry between them was very well done.

I loved the characters in this book.  Josie is an emergency room doctor so she is used to making tough decisions.  She really is a down to earth character that likes simpler things like beer and pizza more than anything else.  Reed is just a nice guy.  He is in his off season so he is a bit more relaxed and has plenty of free time.  At the start of the book, he is dating a string of Barbies but is quickly distracted by his neighbor.  I liked how Reed just seemed to know what to do with Josie and I loved how they trusted and respected each other.

I believe that this was my first experience in listening to both Graham Halstead and Cris Dukehart.  The book is told from both Reed and Josie's point of view in alternating chapters and I liked the fact that two narrators were used.  I thought that they both did a fantastic job with the narration and really made each of the characters come to life.  I think that they both did a great job handling all of the character voices and emotions of the story.  I definitely plan to look for more of their work in the future.

I highly recommend this book to fans of contemporary romance.  This was the tenth book in the Cold Fury Hockey series but it could easily be read as a stand alone since it does tell its own story.  We do get a bit of a peek into what is going on in Marek's life in this book and I must say that I am really eager to get my hands on his book in just a few short months. 
Cold Fury Hockey Series
#1 -Alex
#2 - Garrett - My Review
#3 - Zack - My Review
#4 - Ryker - My Review
#5 - Hawke - My Review
#6 - Max- My Review
#7 - Roman - My Review
#8 - Lucas - My Review
#9 - Van - My Review
#10 - Reed
#11 - Marek - Coming May 28, 2018!
About the Author

Since the release of her debut contemporary romance novel, Off Sides, in January 2013, Sawyer Bennett has released more than 30 books and has been featured on both the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists on multiple occasions.

A reformed trial lawyer from North Carolina, Sawyer uses real life experience to create relatable, sexy stories that appeal to a wide array of readers. From new adult to erotic contemporary romance, Sawyer writes something for just about everyone.

Sawyer likes her Bloody Mary’s strong, her martinis dirty, and her heroes a combination of the two. When not bringing fictional romance to life, Sawyer is a chauffeur, stylist, chef, maid, and personal assistant to a very active toddler, as well as full-time servant to two adorably naughty dogs. She believes in the good of others, and that a bad day can be cured with a great work-out, cake, or a combination of the two.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Audiobook Review - The Pen is Mightier by J.A. Cipriano

The Pen is Mightier by J.A. Cipriano
Narrated by Luke Daniels
Publisher: Jason A. Cipriano
Publication Date: January 31, 2018
Date Read: February 12, 2018
Length: 5 hours 56 minutes
Source: Audiobook Boom
What if anything you wrote became true? When an angry dwarf at a traveling carnival promises Roger something that could change his life, he never thought it would come in the form of a magic pen. Now, anything the introverted college student writes becomes true, and with its power, he'll finally be able to take revenge on the bullies who have tormented him over the years.

There's just one problem. A group of assassins will do anything to get the pen, he accidentally made a entire squad of dancers into slaves, and his best friend somehow got an all-powerful mech. Maybe that's three problems, but either way, Roger might just find out that the pen is mightier.
My Review

My thoughts are pretty mixed on this book.  I decided to give it a try because the premise sounded really entertaining and I am a huge fan of the narrator.  It was a pretty easy listen that seemed to move pretty quickly.  It ended up being an okay book for me.

Roger starts off the book having a rather bad day.  I actually liked down on his luck Roger that seemed to be doing his best just to get by on a daily basis.  He is given the task to delivering a sandwich to the carnival and leaves with a magic pen.  I love the idea of a magic pen.  You can write something down and it (usually) comes true.  Just think about what you could do with that.  Need a couple of zeroes added to your paycheck? Or maybe just write your own winning lottery ticket?  You get the idea how great this could be and watching Roger try to figure out what he could do with it was fun at first.

I started to have some issues with the story when the pen started causing women to fall all over themselves to be with Roger.  I don't consider myself to be a prude and I don't mind sex in books.  In fact, I usually like it when it is done well.  The sex in this book caused me to do some major eye rolling.  I didn't feel any chemistry between the characters and it didn't strengthen any relationships.  It was more on the ridiculous side of things.  There was also the little issue that none of the sex would have happened without the pen.  I can't say that Roger controlled the women because he did not write that they would have sex with him but there was a real fine line.

Luke Daniels did an awesome job with this book.  Honestly, I am not completely sure that I would have finished the book without his voice encouraging me to keep going.  He handled a lot of different characters and some crazy scenes with ease and really kept the book fun.

I thought that the concept and exploring the limits of the pen were incredibly interesting and fun at times.   I think that maybe I am not the right audience for this book.  I think that this book may work a lot better for other readers so you may want to give it a try if it sounds interesting to you. I don't think that I will be continuing with the series myself.

I received a review copy of this audiobook from the author via Audiobook Boom.

About the Author

J. A. Cipriano is the author of more than twenty books, including those in the Lillim Callina Chronicles and Abby Banks spy thriller series.

Author Link:  Website | Goodreads | Facebook 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Review - A Death in Live Oak by James Grippando @James_Grippando @HarperCollins

A Death in Live Oak by James Grippando
Series: Jack Swyteck #14
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers - Harper
Publication Date: February 6, 2017
Date Read: February 13, 2017
Length: 384 pages
Source: Edelweiss

James Grippando delivers his most explosive and riveting suspense novel yet: a powerful and timely story of race, politics, injustice, and murder as shocking and incendiary as today’s headlines, in which Jack Swyteck defends a white college student charged with a heinous racial crime—the first lynching in Florida in more than a half century

When the body of Jamal Cousin, president of the pre-eminent black fraternity at the Florida’s flagship university, is discovered hogtied in the Stygian water swamps of the Suwanee River Valley, the death sets off a firestorm that threatens to rage out of control when a fellow student, Mark Towson, the president of a prominent white fraternity, is accused of the crime.

Contending with rising political tensions, racial unrest, and a sensational media, Townson’s defense attorney, Jack Swyteck, fears the worst. The evidence against his client—which includes a threatening text message referencing “strange fruit” on the river—seems overwhelming. Then Jack gets a break that could turn the case. Jamal’s gruesome murder bears disturbing similarities to another lynching that occurred back in the Jim Crow days of 1944. Are the chilling parallels purely coincidental? With a community in chaos and a young man’s life in jeopardy, Jack will use every resource to find out.

As he navigates each twist and turn of the search, Jack becomes increasingly convinced that his client may himself be the victim of a criminal plan more sinister than the case presented by the state attorney. Risking his own reputation, this principled man who has devoted his life to the law plunges headfirst into the darkest recesses of the South’s past . . . and its murky present to uncover answers.

For Jack, it’s about the truth. Traversing time, from the days of strict segregation to the present, he’ll find it—no matter what the cost—and bring much-needed justice to Suwanee County.
My Review

This really was a fantastic book.  I have been a fan of James Grippando for a long time so I was really eager to get my hands on this newest installment in his long running Jack Swyteck series.  This is the fourteenth book in the series but each book in the series works well as a stand alone novel.  I expect good things from both this author and this series and that is exactly what I got with this book.  I really had a great time reading this wonderful story.

This book opens with a bang and I quickly found myself both heartbroken and angry.  There are a lot of things in this book that made me angry and broke my heart because the subject matter is just really emotional.  The mystery involves the apparent lynching of a young black man at a local university which sparks a lot of racial tension in the community.  

Jack becomes the lawyer for the young white man that has been accused of the murder.  I thought that this was a really interesting perspective into the crime.  There really doesn't appear to be a whole lot to tie the young man to the crime besides a racist text the his client denies sending.  The case ends up being a whole lot more complicated than anyone realizes.  

I really liked how we get to see each stage of the legal process in this book.  Each stage is represented from initial questioning of the suspect, indictment, and bail hearing.  We see how difficult it can be for a lawyer to represent a client that doesn't always share what they should or take the advice given.  I felt the fear of the his client, Mark, as he goes to prison and fears for his future.  

I liked the characters in this book.  I think that this series has been focusing less on Jack's personal life in later books.  There is still some scenes with Jack and his wife and daughter which I enjoyed.  Theo makes an appearance but doesn't play a big role and I have to say that I missed Theo working alongside Jack.  Andie, Jack's wife, does get some of her own action in this one to keep things interesting.  There were a few characters that were easy to hate such as the prosecutor who is more focused on his re-election than justice.

I do highly recommend this series to others.  This was a book that really kept me thinking and glued to the pages.  It really was a great story with twists and turns that kept me guessing until the very end.  I can't wait to read more from this talented author.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from HarperCollins Publishers - Harper via Edelweiss.

About the Author
Monica Hopkins photography
New York Times bestselling author James Grippando was a trial lawyer for twelve years before the publication of his first novel, The Pardon, in 1994. A Death in Live Oak is his twenty-sixth novel. He is a practicing attorney, teaches at the University of Miami Law school, and lives in south Florida.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter
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